April 24, 2024 #1 Local News, Information and Event Source for the Century City/Westwood areas.

The Reel Deal

Ah, November, when across the country people are enduring record cold spells, soaring heating bills and frostbitten noses, SoCal residents have no such problems. Our main worry is figuring out what movie upon which to squander our hard earned cash. Luckily, I am here for you, as always, and have already done the work. Behold:

First up, on November 7, is Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, a chance for parents to escape responsibility (for at least an hour or so). All the usual suspects are here: Alex the lion, Marty the zebra, Melman the giraffe, Gloria the hippo, King Julien, Maurice and the penguins, with voices by various stars from Ben Stiller to Cedric the Entertainer (as if the preteen audience cares). Our zoo-raised pals are in search of their African relatives and hilarity ensues. No, really, it’s quite fun, although you might want to know that it’s been rated PG for a bit of potty humor which, of course, will cause kids to blow soda out through their noses.

Now, turn right and then go down, really down, for The Soloist, a rather depressing yet enlightening true story of Steve Lopez, a Los Angeles journalist, who attempts to help Nathaniel Ayers, a schizophrenic homeless musician played by Jamie Foxx, by writing newspaper columns about his plight. As he did in Ray, Foxx morphs into the character of Ayers with alarming acuity, down to the freckles and receding hairline. For that matter, Robert Downey, Jr. makes a pretty good replica of Lopez. We don’t want any spoilers here, so suffice it to say that if you are in need of a cathartic and thoughtful film experience, go see The Soloist on November 21.

Nicole Kidman and  Hugh Jackman in “Australia.â€

Finally, on November 26, the silver screen will be filled to the brim with romance and action in Australia, a WWII spectacle, starring fellow Aussies Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. Kidman ditches her local accent to play an uppity English aristocrat who comes to the Land Down Under to protect the giant ranch she inherited as encroaching Japanese forces threaten the city of Darwin. The beauty shots of the scenery are impressive, but the plot is pretty much same old, same old. There’s a little too much of Kidman’s beautiful-yet-brave-and-plucky character from Cold Mountain to make this yawn job worth seeing. Unless, of course, you are in need of sleep.

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